Such is the case with BJ, a commenter who in a pre-internet age would no doubt be standing on street corners wearing a sandwich board. The following is an exchange I’ve been having in the comments section of the article linked to above:
BJ: Concerning the rapture:The Bible says in Matthew 24 that the coming of the Lord will be as in the days of Noah, they were eating, drinking,marrying until the day that Noah entered the ark.The flood came and took the unbelievers away.It wasn’t we believers that were taken, it was the sinners.Yes, Noah was protected in the ark but he was still around when everyone else was gone.Do you still want to be raptured? I may be wrong,but I just want to be with JESUS!!!!!!!
Me: You left out the part about the angels fucking people and creating a race of giants (Gen. 6:1-6).
BJ: I didn’t forget about the FALLEN angels. They were the reason for the flood.They were disobedient.God destroyed them.
Me: And yet the inclusion of a literal race of giants doesn’t seem to affect the plausibility of the story in your eyes…which speaks volumes. On a related note, I’ve got some magic beans to sell you.
BJ: Hey,It doesn’t matter whether the giants are literal or catagorical.If they are catagorical,it means they stand for something larger than we are,but if they are literal,it sure explains a lot of things such as who built the Pyramids?I believe in God,and I believe his word,and if you don’t then I don’t see any use in this discussion.As for the magic beans,keep them you need them more than me.
Me: It matters for the story to actually make any kind of sense. Then again, even a literal race of giants doesn’t in any way justify genocide to anyone other than a sociopath. Further, giants don’t explain the pyramids, which were built by ordinary-sized humans.
BJ: First of all,to argue about giants,literal or not is in itself senseless.It just causes arguments and derision.furthermore,I have no idea what the Nephilim of Genesis and genocide have to do with anything.and as far as the pyramids are concerned,there’so way an ordidary person could have made anything that big with stones that size with the knowledge and tools that they had.These giants were the offspring of fallen angels and humans,but once again,if you don’t believe the bible,this will mean nothing to you.
Me: Well, yes, until someone can actually present a literal giant (which is the sole reason the Bible gives for the flood), it’s a pointless discussion. Though the fact that the Bible makes repeated references to literal giants, literal dragons, literal witches, and literal unicorns speaks volumes about the level of reliability one ought to ascribe to it given that all of these are entirely mythical creatures. Of course all of this avoids the real issue addressed in this article, which is the claim that the biblical Rapture is at hand. And if it is, then whether we argue or not makes no difference anyway.
Now with regards to the pyramids, there’s no mystery. We know precisely how the pyramids were almost certainly built and many have sufficiently demonstrated that it can be done using the same simple tools that were available to the Egyptians at the time: levers, pulleys, and raw man power. Your personal incredulity does not define the possible or the impossible. The fact is that they had both the means and inclination to build the pyramids, they did so, and they did not suffer the same failure of imagination as you. Though I do find it curious that you regard human beings simply collaborating on a building project hard to believe and yet the notions of a race of giants constructing a building with doorways too small for them to enter and a magical deity with infinite power sound perfectly plausible to you…especially when Genesis itself describes a far more ambitious human building project during the same era.
And lastly, if your criteria for persuasion requires the person to already believe the very thing you’re trying to persuade them to believe, your time would be better spent chasing your own tail because that’s circular reasoning.
BJ: once again, all this stuff does’t matter.I’m not trying to to persuade anyone to believe me.I don’t care if you believe me or not.I belive in God and his son Jesus and his word[the Bible]and that’s all there is to it.It’s been very enlightening talking to you,I will be praying for you,but I don’t see any point in continuing to converse.I stand on everything that I previously said.I pray that God will forgive you, for you know not what you do.Oh, before I forget,try reading the New Testament for a change,it just might be enlightening to you.
Me: Thanks but I know exactly what I do. Though if you insist on praying for me, I’ll masturbate for you and we’ll call it even. And while I appreciate the condescension, I’ve read the Christian Bible several times, which is a large factor in why I’m an atheist. Now isn’t it about time you read the whole thing from beginning to end too?
BJ: Atheists always make me smile.All you are doing is fullfilling prophesy.You don’t believe in God because it’s easier not to.God will always make a way for you and other sceptics to scientifically explain everything.why? Because he gave us free will,and he wants us to come to him willingly.It all centers around FAITH.You’re taking the easy way out and fullfilling prophesy at the same time.I don’t know when the end is coming,but I do know that it is.God is taking his time because he doesn’t want anyone to perish.He’s doing it for you dude.It’s easy not to believe in God.If there is no God,then I’ve lost nothing,BUT,if there is a God and I chose not to believe in him,then I’ve lost eternal life in paradise.Not worth the risk to me.I’m a believer.You think I’m weak? It’s when you are weak,that he makes you strong.You think I’m using him because I need a crutch and only weak people need a crutch right?You are probably right,but by leaning on him,I WILL NOT FALL!!!!!! Go ahead, make fun of me if you must,but I’m a believer and that’s all there is to it.Go ahead keep being an atheist,keep fullfilling prophesy, and I’ll just continue to smile.God is merciful,and he’ll never turn anyone away.
Me: “All you are doing is fullfilling prophesy.”
Then we must be doing a really bad job because 1900 years later, prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.
“You don’t believe in God because it’s easier not to.”
No, I don’t believe in your tribal god for the same reason you don’t believe in anyone else’s tribal gods, lack of evidence.
“God will always make a way for you and other sceptics to scientifically explain everything.why?”
Such a god who would deliberately fool people to lure them into a trap where they’ll be tormented for all eternity seems like a pretty sadistic deity.
“Because he gave us free will,and he wants us to come to him willingly.”
I don’t think you know what the phrase “free will” means. If I tell you to obey me or else I’ll fucking blow your brains out, that is not “free will.” That is called a threat. Fortunately I’m unimpressed by threats from non-existent entities with no ability to follow through.
“It all centers around FAITH.”
In that case, I have something to tell you. I am Jesus. SURPRISE! Now before you object, remember now. It all centers around FAITH.
“You’re taking the easy way out and fullfilling prophesy at the same time.”
According to you, my actions lead to an eternity of suffering regardless of whether or not I’m a good person simply because I didn’t suck up to god the mob boss. Some “easy way out.”
“I don’t know when the end is coming,but I do know that it is.”
The word “know” is utterly meaningless if such alleged knowledge cannot be demonstrated. You, like the millions before you, BELIEVE it will happen; you don’t KNOW it.
“God is taking his time because he doesn’t want anyone to perish.”
Too late. OOPS. If that’s his goal, according to your religion, he’s already failed. So why follow a failure of a god when you can follow Zeus instead? Now that’s a god who knows how to get things done.
“He’s doing it for you dude.”
No, according to you, your tribal god literally designed a system meant to fool me into an eternity of punishment with that evil science, which would in turn lead to my eternity of suffering, another condition that your tribal god set up. These are not the actions of a loving deity who’s “doing it for me.” These are the actions of a cruel sadist who wants to maximize suffering and get brain dead lackeys who will actually try to rationalize it as a just system. In which case, I reject any god who would inflict pain and suffering for its own pleasure.
“It’s easy not to believe in God.”
That’s the first honest thing you’ve said. It’s every bit as easy as not believing in Santa Claus.
“If there is no God,then I’ve lost nothing,”
Except that you’ve wasted your one and only existence on terrorizing others and making their one and only lives miserable. You must be very proud.
“BUT,if there is a God and I chose not to believe in him,then I’ve lost eternal life in paradise.”
Belief isn’t a choice. You either do or you don’t. You must not think very highly of your god if you think you can fool it into thinking you believe in it even when your every instinct tells you it doesn’t, requiring you to have to go out of your way to “choose” to believe in it. The amazing thing is that no such conscious effort is required for believing things that exist. Nobody “chooses” to believe in hammers. If you don’t, you can just go to a hardware store and see one for yourself. When things exist, they leave copious amounts of evidence demonstrating their existence. It’s usually only ever the non-existent things that leave no evidence of existence.
As for this paradise thing, if you really believe in it, why do you work so hard to avoid it? Why lock your doors at night or look both ways when crossing the street? Why see a doctor when your sick or injured? Why grieve when loved ones die if they just went to paradise? Why live your life like someone who doesn’t believe you go to paradise when you die?
“You think I’m weak?”
No, I think you’re delusional.
“You think I’m using him because I need a crutch and only weak people need a crutch right?”
Nope. You really are a fountain of invented knowledge, aren’t you.
“But by leaning on him,I WILL NOT FALL!”
But you’ve already fallen…for the oldest trick in the book.
“Go ahead keep being an atheist,”
I’m more than willing to change my mind if presented with sufficient evidence. Are you?
“Keep fullfilling prophesy”
Or you know, not fulfilling prophesy as the case seems to be. A world that hasn’t ended hardly seems like a fulfilling of a prophesy that says the world will end. Kinda jumpin’ the gun there, chief.
“and I’ll just continue to smile.”
So when faced with the belief that billions and billions of people will suffer for all eternity because they were tricked by your god into not believing because your god deliberately created a world that made it, according to you, easy to doubt said god’s existence, your response is to smile?? So you think the perfect moral system punishes otherwise good people simply because they were deceived into not kissing your god’s ass and rewards psychotic lunatics who enjoy endless human suffering. Sounds lovely. If that’s your heaven, I prefer the hell. Better company.
BJ: Well I’m so glad that you prefer hell,because the rate you’re going, you’ll be there before long.You can’t get to heaven on good works.Being a good person won’t do it.You’ve got to believe that JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD.This is where faith comes in.If you need proof,you’ll never have faith,because proof is the opposite of faith.Every negative word that comes out of your mouth is fullfilling prophesy,and it is only by the grace of God that you are not consumed.As far as billions of good people going to hell.Salvation is a free gift.It’s available to everyone,but if you reject it,then you have rejected your only hope.Don’t blame God,it’s your own fault,yet,he is patiently waiting for you to give him a chance.Always ready to forgive you,and always offering salvation to anyone who believes in him. FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH;BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.ROMANS 6:23 Too bad you don’t believe.
Me: Well, no. As I’ve already told you, I am Jesus. I’m sorry you lack the necessary faith to accept that. But don’t worry. I’m not as sadistic as you’d falsely claim me to be, so I won’t send you to hell. Of course, you better hope I, Jesus, am the one true god and that you happened to grow up in the right part of the world at the right time. If you’d grown up in Afghanistan, you’d be just as certain that the Koran was the true word of god. But if Islam does turn out to be the real true religion, we’ll both be roasting for all eternity.
What a crazy system you’ve invented though, where morality is worthless and the only the most sycophantic robots are rewarded, regardless of their behavior, where Hitler goes to heaven but his Jewish victims must suffer a whole other Holocaust involving an eternity of suffering, where the mere absence of torture by a celestial tyrannical mob boss is seen as a gift and where the thought of good people needlessly suffering makes you giddy. And that you would have the audacity to claim that anyone who doesn’t applies the critical thinking skills they were born with and doesn’t believe, or who even dares to object to this celestial dictatorship actually deserves being tortured for all eternity disgusts me. You are like an abused child who is determined to believe that you deserved it for misbehaving.
But let’s just say for the sake of argument that your bullshit view is accurate. If as you yourself say, god is “always ready to forgive,” why not just wait until after I’m dead and then turn into the mindless drone you’ve become after seeing hell for myself? Remember now. God is “always ready to forgive.”
Now I’ve about run out of patience with you so I will no longer allow comments from you and politely tell you to go fuck yourself!